Long ago much of the south western Cape and Southern Africa was a palm forest. But changing rainfall patterns and climates caused more robust trees to replace the palms creating expansive forests. The old forests are still evident in 0.5% of Africa, hidden in sheltered areas.
We’ve gone ahead and located where you can find ancient forests. Which one will you choose to explore?
The Baobab Forest will immediately have you singing the Lion King theme. This iconic tree ages from one thousand to six thousand years old. They are protected from deforestation and act as a home to many endangered animals.
Officially called Cecilia Park, the region stretches across the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Most of the forest is what you would expect – pine and gum. However scattered throughout you’ll find small areas of yellowwoods, ironwoods, assegai, olinias, rooi-els, boekenhout and spoonwood trees.
Not a name you hear every day but very important in the south-western Cape area. This amazing area of indigenous forest holds all 35 typical forest tree species and is home to the forest emperor butterfly and ghost frog. All in a World Heritage Site, the forest also grows camphor, Australian blackwood, blue, gum, and ash trees. Grootvadersbosch has a set of Californian redwood trees that have been growing since 1907.
Platbos is the largest remaining fragment of the Swartkransberg Forests. Lying on the slopes of the Baviaanspoort Hills, you’ll find many trees over one-thousand years old. The species inside are so unique they can’t be categorized. In the center you’ll come across a milkwood and a labyrinth of sea shells. The terrain is deep and sandy, comparable to the Tongaland-Pondoland forests. This is a privately funded forest, so you will need to book an appointment to visit.